The Cab Ride To Town

In mid-1966 through mid-1967 I was in the army stationed in Udorn, Thailand.  The US Army had a small contingent of about 50 GI’s that was actually on a Thai army base about 3 or 4 miles down the road  from the large joint US and Thai air force base in Udorn.  We were apart of Stratcom that commanded a communications facility in support of the war effort in Viet Nam.  When we went to work we would travel that small distance to the airbase where I was a electronic technician in a tropo-scatter radio van called a TRC-90A.

We were constantly told about the cultural peculiarities of the Thai people and how we should show respect for their way of life. We were held responsible for the deeds done by the Thai’s if they were under our hire or direction.

On this occasion, I was in a cab alone with a Thai driver headed toward town for a little R&R.  The cab was a little Datsun (now Nissan) 1000, travelling much too fast for the conditions of the road between the two destinations.  A motorcycle rider was zipping in and out of traffic and somehow got in front of us and slammed on his brakes when the traffic ahead suddenly slowed.  We hit the bike rider and ran over the motorcycle and I believe the impact  injured him badly or even worse.  The bike ran off into the khlong (a nasty ass water canal with unmentionable stuff in it) and the cabbie stopped the Datsun, looked at the fallen bike rider and begun to run like heck the other way.  Yeah, he ran, leaving the cab there idling with the drivers side door open.   I thought, oh fudge, took the clue and I too ran the five miles back to the base.

To this day I don’t know what happened to that motorcycle rider but I was not going to stay around to find out. From the preaching’s the army gave us I figured that if I hadn’t hired the cabbie he wouldn’t have been there and ultimately it would fall back on me.  That was the logic used by the (in)glorious UCMJ (Uniform Code of Military Justice).

I don’t know what the record was for the 5 mile run but I believe  I set it that day.



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2 Replies to “The Cab Ride To Town”

  1. There was a ditch dug across the hiway just south of Ramasun Station with two by four detour blocks. The taxi driver had a buddy riding with him and they wee chatting yakkety yak which explains why he did not see the detour sign. I’m im the back seat and when he saw it he put the binders on to no avail and we teetered into the ditch across the road nose down. I opened the door which lay flat on the road next to uss, stepped on it and then tot the asphalt road. Not wanting to be held responsible for the accident as mentioned in a post above I hurried over to the first taxi in line which had pulled up next to us, hopped in and continued to Ramasun Station, the 7th RRFS, which was perhaps a mile up the road. They tended to hook the next GI and charge him a lotta baht knowing we made a lotta baht. Not this kid. Knowing such I melted into the darkness before the cops arrived leaving the taxi nose down in the pit and ass end pointing to the sky.

    1. That’s a very funny story. Quite similar to my experience. Not sure when you were there, I was in Udorn from July 1966 until June 1967. Went back to Fort Ord and was discharged in June 1968.

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